This report of an execution begins: 'An account of the Life and Execution of John Stewart and Catherine Wright, his wife, who were Executed at Edinburgh on Wednesday the 19th August 1829, and the bodies given for dissection, for the horrible murder and robbery of Robert Lamond, on board the Toward Castle steam boat, on the 15th December 1828; with the manner in which they behaved since receiving sentence.'
Stewart and Wright's case caused a sensation in Scotland when they confessed to ten more murders after their trial. Their method was to poison their victims with laudanum, then rob them. With the trial of Burke and Hare coming less than a year previously, citizens of Glasgow and Edinburgh were deeply concerned about public safety and law and order, and some of the many broadsides covering Stewart and Wright's case expressed these concerns.
Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.
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Date of publication:
1829 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(108a)
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